About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It's A Love Story: From Happily to Ever After by Lincee Ray

It's a Love Story: From Happily to Ever After
ABOUT THE BOOK

Human beings love to be loved. And we love to fall in love. As children we pour our love into our pets and our friends. As teenagers we fall in love with musicians and actors and the boy whose locker is next to ours. As we mature, we long for romantic love that will last a lifetime. Sacrificial love, unexplainable love, familial love, desperate love. Love songs and love stories. Clearly we were created with the longing for love ingrained in our souls.

With lots of wit and a bit of wisdom drawn from a lifetime of falling in love, Lincee Ray invites you to an unabashed celebration of that loving feeling. As she reveals the loves of her life and encourages you to recall your own, you'll discover alongside her that there is only one who can ever truly fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts. And he made us to be part of a divine love story.



MY THOUGHTS.....

It's a Love Story: From Happily to Ever After by Lincee Ray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Our need to feel loved is ingrained in our souls. It's been that way since the beginning."

In this new book from Lincee Ray we are reminded about the different kinds of love. There is love for our animals, love for our parents, love for our friends, love for our children and of course romantic love. The author is very funny but she also has a knack for getting to the heart of the matter and she uses pop culture as a way of illustrating her points. I enjoyed her references to the 80s and 90s and I knew about the movie Dirty Dancing and Bonnie Raitt's Total Eclipse of the Heart but I was born in an earlier generation so I found myself thinking about the Beach Party movies with Frankie and Annette and Unchained Melody from the Righteous Brothers and recalling the emotions associated with each of them.

Yes, there is a lot of humor in It's A Love Story and I often found myself laughing out loud while reading this book but the author also makes some powerful observations and she liberally uses God's Word as she talks about her faith. In the conclusion Ray reminds us of the ultimate love story. God "wanted to show the quintessential act of love. So He sacrificed His Son". (p. 195)

If you enjoy a book with humor you will want to read It's A Love Story but if you want both a fun and a thought-provoking book, you MUST read It's A Love Story!

I received a complimentary copy from the author and Revell Publishing but these thoughts are my own.


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Monday, April 29, 2019

When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin

When He Found Me (Road to Refuge #1)ABOUT THE BOOK

Love Discovered . . . Hope Renewed

Once a strong Christian, third baseman Shane Riley lost his faith the night he injured his knee in a freak car accident. Determined to return to professional baseball and to find the sister he treated badly, Shane retreats to Refuge, Wyoming. There he meets Melissa June “MJ” Townsend, a single mom battling the virus that causes cervical cancer. 

MJ wants nothing to do with the handsome athlete—no doubt a womanizer considering the stories in the news. But when a mistake results in Shane renting her garage apartment, they become friends. That friendship blossoms into something deep and pure, leaving MJ with a painful secret to tell. Even more complicated, she discovers an unexpected tie to Shane’s missing sister—a wounded woman who wants nothing to do with the perfect brother who scorned her. 


MY THOUGHTS..... When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are many sensitive subjects mentioned in When He Found Me and this certainly can't be labeled as chicklit but it is a story that will touch your heart and remain in your memory. Shane Riley and Melissa June "MJ" Townsend have both suffered deep hurts and they both feel like they have failed. Shane's successful career as a baseball player has been cut short by an injury, he's lost touch with his younger sister Daisy and he has basically turned his back on God; MJ is struggling to make ends meet while she raises her son alone, her relationship with her mother is very strained and, to top it all off, MJ knows that she has a virus that could cause her to develop cervical cancer. They are two people in need of a friend but what are the odds that their chance encounter in an laundromat could develop into friendship or that this friendship could deepen into something else?

"MJ" and Shane have a great story to tell but there are actually four points of view shared in When He Found Me. The thoughts of MJ's mother Olivia and Shane's sister Daisy are also shown throughout this book and I was especially drawn to Daisy. We learn the hard life that Daisy has experienced and we watch her change; I fully sensed her doubts and I was overjoyed with her conversion.

When He Found Me features faith and hope; estrangement and reconciliation; and many kinds of love. There is romantic love, love of family and love for our fellow man. There is also the reminder that the ultimate, most complete love comes from God and that forgiveness is available for all who seek Him. One of my favorite lines sums it up:

"Father God, you know everything about us, yet you love us just as we are..."

When He Found Me is a beautiful story with wonderful, multifaceted characters, faith and the promise of redemption. As I read it I realized that the title applies to more than just one human finding another! I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading what Victoria Bylin has for the next book in the Road to Refuge series!

I received a digital copy of this book and I voluntarily chose to share my review.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sheltered by the Soldier by Lisa Harris

Sheltered by the Soldier
ABOUT THE BOOK
Deadly secrets are surfacing…

Can he help her find the truth?

When Gabriella Kensington finds evidence that her husband may have been murdered, someone comes after her. The only person she and her infant daughter can trust is soldier Liam O’Callaghan, her late husband’s best friend. Taking refuge at his ranch, Gabby and Liam search for the truth—and resist their growing attraction. But can Liam ensure Gabby doesn’t become the killer’s next victim?


MY THOUGHTS.....

Sheltered by the Soldier by Lisa Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thrills and adventure begin on the very first page of this book and they never let up. Gabriella Kensington is shocked to arrive home to find her house broken into and her living room trashed and from that point on her life becomes like a dangerous roller coaster ride. She has reasons to believe that her soldier husband had discovered proof of illegal military transactions and that his death wasn't really an accident. This break-in and a late night car chase convinces her that she and her 17 month old daughter are now in danger also. What follows is a tale of threats, attempted murder and the realization that very few people can be trusted. Gabriella finds friendship and protection from her late husband's best friend and soon they both are caught up in an intense search to solve a military conspiracy and avoid being killed themselves. Liam O'Gallighan proves that that he can be trusted for the long haul but Gabriella resists his attentions because she doubts that her heart can survive loving (and perhaps losing) another soldier.

Sheltered by the Soldier is an exciting Christian fiction novel filled with intrigue and suspense and it also touches on the unsettled lives that military families must endure. Lisa Harris has created some very realistic characters in Gabriella and Liam. Gabriella is the perfect example of a military wife who feels great pride in her husband's dedication to serving his country but fears each and every day that his service may cause him harm. Liam O'Gallighan exemplifies the man that most parents hope their daughters will marry: he is trustworthy, honest and loyal. And most of all, Gabriella and Liam both share a common faith and trust in God.

Sheltered by the Soldier is a story of love, faith and the hope of second chances and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense novels.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and was under no obligation to post a review.


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Friday, April 26, 2019

The Divided Family (The Amish Millionaire #5) by Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter

The Divided Family (The Amish Millionaire #5)
ABOUT THE BOOK

Meet businessman Joel Byler who has gotten himself into a financial bind and his eccentric, wealthy Amish father who is done bailing out his spoiled son. When will Joel learn he most pay for his own mistakes—and at what cost to his business, his fiancĂ©e, and his Amish siblings?



MY THOUGHTS..... 

The Divided Family by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Divided Family is the fifth book in the six-part series The Amish Millionaire and Joel Byler is still at odds with his three sisters. All that he can think about is finding his late father's missing will and he continues to believe that he has been treated unfairly by his family and his former fiancee. I am still having a hard time finding positive qualities to like about Joel and I'm anxious to see how Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter will choose to wrap up this series. At the end of this book the Byler family is dealing with another family tragedy and we also have a mystery involving a clause in the recently found will. The authors have left readers with several cliff-hangers and I look forward to The Selfless Act, the final installment of The Amish Millionaire.

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God Is in the Small Stuff 20th Anniversary Edition by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz

ABOUT THE BOOK

Bruce & Stan's bestselling God Is in the Small Stuff is back and better than ever in this special 20th-anniversary edition! And their message--God is in all of life's little details--is as timely today as it was two decades ago. While encouraging you not to disregard the minor, insignificant things in life, God Is in the Small Stuff invites a better understanding of God's infinite character, reminding you that He is a personal and intimate God, involved in every detail of your life. God Is In the Small Stuff. . .and it all matters features 40 chapters covering topics like "Remember that God Loves You," "Discipline Yourself (No One Else Will)," and "Contentment Won't Kill You." Each chapter includes commentary in the classic, tongue-in-cheek Bruce & Stan style, followed by pithy, often humorous, wisdom. 

MY THOUGHTS.....

God Is in the Small Stuff 20th Anniversary Edition by Bruce Bickel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We've all heard that good things come in small packages and this is so true of this book. God Is In the Small Stuff is small but it is full of good things, or should I say good advice. This is the 20th anniversary edition of the classic that Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz first published in 1998 and it is now updated for today's readers. There are forty short essays that cover a variety of topics and I like that each essay begins with an appropriate scripture and ends with a list of helpful tips to further our understanding, in a section titled In the Small Stuff. God Is In the Small Stuff reminds us that we don't have to wait to call on God's intervention for only the big things; He is with us all the time and no problem is too big for him to solve or too small for Him to know!

This book has an attractive, hardback copy with a ribbon to use as a bookmark and it would be a perfect gift for the special days that are approaching, such as Graduation, Mother's Day and Father's Day.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Beauty in Hiding--Tour, Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit




Book: Beauty in Hiding  
Author: Robin Patchen  
Genre: Christian romantic suspense  
Release Date: March 12, 2019  

Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series: Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her. Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are. Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits. Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through. Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.

MY THOUGHTS.....

Harper Cloud is a beauty in hiding and it is apparent that her looks have been more of a curse than a blessing. In fact, Harper considers her beauty to be a major curse because many men have been attracted to her face and body but cared nothing for the person inside.  A series of bad decisions and bad relationships have left her with a prison record and the need to flee with the older man that she has been caring for as a nurse companion. Dangerous events have forced Harper and  Harold "Red" Burns to seek shelter in a small town and their lives have become an ongoing series of struggles. Harper struggles to find a job, to provide food for them, and to keep them safe from Red's only living relative, his grandson Derrick.  Red Burns ("Gramps") faces his own struggles as he alternates between feelings of fear, anger and hostility and his ever increasing loss of memory as his dementia continues to worsen.

I truly enjoyed Beauty in HIding and author Robin Patchen has created some complex and intriguing characters. Harper Cloud is so loving and caring but she has a hard time believing that she will be truly loved in return. Many men have been attracted to her face and body but they cared nothing for the person inside. Trust is definitely an issue and she certainly doesn't believe that her landlord Jack Rossi has honorable intentions as he befriends his two new tenants. He feels drawn to both of them but his efforts to help them are met with great resistance from Harper.

This story is filled with danger, secrets, addiction, murder and so many unanswered questions but there is also an underlying theme of faith. Reminders that believing in God is the only true path to peace and acceptance are scattered throughout the book and we are allowed to witness Harper's growth as a Christian.

"What had Gramps told her? God's word was a lamp unto her feet? She wished it was more like a street lamp and less like a cheap flashlight with a dying bulb." 

Beauty in HIding is book two in the Beauty in Flight trilogy but I didn't feel lost reading this book first.  The third book, Beauty in Battle, is definitely on my TBR list so that I can see what the future holds for Harper Cloud. Can she protect "Red" from his own grandson? Will she finally find the happiness that she deserves? Is Jack Rossi the person who will convince her to trust again?

I received a complimentary copy from Celebrate Lit but these are my honest opinions.

Click here to purchase your copy.












 

About the Author




Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
 

More from Robin

I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time. Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out. But God… two of my favorite words in the English language. God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity. Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of. Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison. Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ. Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.


Blog Stops

amandainpa , April 13
Genesis 5020, April 15
Among the Reads, April 16
Remembrancy, April 18
Just One More, April 18
Emily Yager, April 19
EmpowerMoms, April 22
Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, April 23
The Lit Addict, April 24
Older & Smarter?, April 25
Pause for Tales, April 26
The Becca Files, April 26

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire Beauty in Flight Series!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de7a/beauty-in-hiding-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Suspect's Daughter (Rogue Hearts #4) by Donna Hatch


28010833

ABOUT THE BOOK


Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams of true love reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril. 

Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone. 

Jocelyn will do anything to clear her father’s name, even if that means working with Grant. Time is running out. The future of England hangs in the balance...and so does their love. 

MY THOUGHTS..... 

The Suspect's Daughter by Donna Hatch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked the characters in this book! Jocelyn Fairley has gone through four London Seasons without gaining a serious suitor but she is willing to endure another Season if this will help her father become the new Prime Minister. So, this year she will concentrate on her father's goal and then, next Season, Jocelyn will try to find a husband because she is truly ready for her own family. But suddenly, a suspected murder plot against the current Prime Minister becomes known and Jocelyn finds herself working with Grant Amesbury to prove that her father isn't the person behind the threats.

I also liked Grant Amesbury and I found him very intriguing. He appears to be gruff and sometimes unlikeable but he is actually a very good person and time and time again he steps in to help others in need. And, in our heroine's words, "He was, without a doubt, one of the most savagely handsome men she'd ever seen" and "belonged in the pages of a novel by her favorite author". Yes, Jocelyn shared my fascination with Mr. Amesbury!

This book is the first that I've read by Donna Hatch and I truly enjoyed The Suspect's Daughter. Hatch made me feel as if I was in London in 1820 and caught up in the mystery surrounding the Prime Minister. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between Jocelyn and Grant. He had sworn years ago that he would never again place himself under the power of a woman but he learns that this could definitely change because of Miss Fairley. They share an incredible chemistry and even though this is a clean romance, there are scenes that take your breath away!

The Suspect's Daughter has mystery, suspense, and romance and it is a must-read if you enjoy stories about England and the Regency era. This is actually the fourth book in Hatch's Rogue Hearts series but it can certainly be read as a standalone novel.

I received a complimentary copy from Loving the Book but I voluntarily chose to write this review.


View all my reviews

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Waves (Love in Chaos #1) by Amy Matayo

The Waves (Love In Chaos #1)
ABOUT THE BOOK

Dillon Hayes is twenty-eight and single, an unfortunate status her overbearing family is determined to fix. So when she’s stuck on a cruise ship for a seven-day reunion with the lot of them, she's desperate for any escape she can find, even if it means partnering with a sketchy stranger for an off-the-beaten-path snorkeling excursion. After her mother's last matchmaking attempt, Dillon is more than willing to trade all her good sense for a few hours of solace. 

Liam Gamble is stuck in the middle of family vacation hell. The worst part: it's not even his family. This will be the last time he ever accepts a free-vacation invitation from his best friend. At this point, he'd be willing to hand over his life savings to get off this crazy ship. So when he catches one of his friend's cousins sneaking off board, he decides to join her, hijacking her private excursion and nearly blowing her cover. If she gets to leave, so does he. 

But what starts off as a secret escape turns into a very real nightmare when their shady tour guide leaves them stranded on an uninhabited island with nothing but the clothes on their backs and no idea how to keep themselves alive. 

As hours turn into days, and the weather proves as threatening as their need for food and water, Dillon and Liam must join forces and rely on each other if they have any hope of seeing their families again. Funny thing: sometimes in life, the end of the rope is when you discover everything you value has been in front of you all along. 

MY THOUGHTS.....

The Waves by Amy Matayo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"I don't want to be lonely."
"I don't want to spend my life pushing people away and never truly being known. I have blown my chance with everyone else I've ever known, but I'm not going to blow my chance with Liam."

Dillon Hayes comes to this conclusion after she and Liam Gamble have been stranded on a deserted island. During this time of struggling to remain alive they both realize that they couldn't have chosen anyone better to be with!

This is the first book that I've read by author Amy Matayo and she has created two very likeable characters for The Waves, the first book in her new series Love in Chaos. Dillon and Liam are both flawed but they are both decent human beings who are looking for love and commitment. Their time together has some laugh-out-loud moments but there are times of reflections as they consider what they want for the future. They also experience some feelings of sadness when they are rescued and are forced to return to the real world. Dillon and Liam share an incredible chemistry but the author avoids graphic details in showing how they view each other and how they react to each other physically.

Many of the feelings that all of us have experienced are part of this story: insecurity, fear, loss, and love. The Waves is a book that will appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary romantic fiction.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book and these are my honest opinions.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday? You Bet It Was!



As a child in Sunday school I loved to hear about Palm Sunday. My teachers would share the story and they often had pictures of Jesus riding on a donkey and crowds of people lined up to see him. They were so excited to see this man called Jesus as they threw the green palm branches on the road as he rode by. As I continued to go to Sunday school and learn more about the events of the week that was to come, I couldn't understand why the Friday was called Good. Because I had seen the pictures of Jesus carrying that huge wooden cross through the streets...hanging on that cross...nails in his hands and feet and a crown of thorns showing on his head. Blood streaming down his face and blood on his hands and feet. Jesus's head hanging down. Even as a six year old child I could see that He died a horrible death. How could this be a good day, a Good Friday?

Many, many years have passed and I can still visualize those pictures from my Sunday school class but others have been added to my memory. A picture of a huge stone that no longer covered a tomb. The women who went to care for Jesus's body “found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus” (Luke 24:2–3).

Two angels reminded the women that Jesus had said that he wouldn't remain in that grave.  And finally, a picture of Mary weeping by the tomb. "At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” (John 20:14-16)

It was then that she knew! Up from the grave He arose. God's Plan had been fulfilled. Resurrection Sunday had arrived and all of mankind would benefit from that incident on Good Friday.

Easter is never mentioned in Bible scripture and many people prefer to call this special day Resurrection Sunday. I don't think that it matters. The important thing is that Jesus Christ is alive and we can enjoy eternal life because of that Good Friday and that Resurrection morning!

God's love and Christ's obedience have made it all possible and in the words from songwriter George Clinton

He's alive, yes He's alive
 Yes He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide

Good Friday? You bet it was! You bet it is!


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Choosing REAL: A Devotional Thought Journal by Bekah Jane Pogue

ABOUT THE BOOK

ACCEPT THE BEAUTIFUL INVITATION TO CHOOSE REAL!

When you enjoy God's company first--even in the uncertain moments of life--the heavenly Creator will transform your mind to view your schedule, work, relationships, parenting, and responsibilities as opportunities to dance in life's storms and honor how beautiful simple can be. That's the message of the Choosing REAL journal, where popular author and blogger, Bekah Pogue, walks with you into life’s unplanned circumstances. . .and she reminds you it is in these very moments that God invites you to notice, respond, and even celebrate how He shows up—in every little detail. Featuring quotes from Pogue's, Choosing REAL, alongside inspiring scripture selections and journal prompts, you will be encouraged to record your personal thoughts and feelings. . .and to accept the invitation to embrace life just as it is!
 



MY THOUGHTS.....


Choosing Real: A Devotional Thought Journal by Bekah Jane Pogue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Choosing REAL is a new addition to the world of devotional journals and it is perfect for recording your personal thoughts. Author Bekah Jane Pogue uses quotes from her previously published devotion book (also titled Choosing REAL) to help readers "choose to get real with Jesus" and she supplements these quotes with Bible scripture and questions to help spur your thinking. There are two pages devoted to each scripture selection and journal prompt and I greatly appreciate that these pages are lined and that they allow me ample space to write my thoughts and feelings.

This is a beautiful hardback book and both the cover and pages are white with gold specks; there is even a gold ribbon to bookmark your journal entry. I am glad to own Choosing REAL: A Devotional Thought Journal and I will also be proud to give it as a gift!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us by Matthew Sleeth

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Bible talks about trees more than any living creation other than people. Perhaps you've missed the forest...and the trees.

In this groundbreaking walk through Scripture, former physician and carpenter Dr. Matthew Sleeth makes the convincing case why trees are essential to every Christian's understanding of God. 

Yet we've mostly missed how God has chosen to tell His story--and ours--through the lens of trees. There's a tree on the first page of Genesis and the last page of Revelation. The Bible refers to itself as a Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18). 
Every major Biblical character has a tree associated with them. Jesus himself says he is the true vine (John 15:1). A tree was used to kill Jesus--and a tree is the only thing the Messiah ever harmed. 

This is no accident. When we subtract trees from Scripture, we miss lessons of faith necessary for our growth. 

This is the rare book that connects those who love the Creator with creation, and those who love creation with the Creator. It offers inspirational yet practical ways to express our love for God--and our neighbors--by planting spiritual trees and physical trees in the world.

Join Dr. Sleeth as he navigates the Bible's trail of trees to explore the wonders of life, death, and rebirth. You'll be amazed at how science is just beginning to catch up to the truths described in Scripture thousands of years ago. Once you discover the hidden language of trees, your walk through the woods--and through Scripture--will never be the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A former emergency room physician, Dr. Matthew Sleeth felt like he was straightening deck chairs on the Titanic saving a patient at a time while the whole ship (Earth) was going down. Together with his wife and two children, he began to bring his lifestyle in line with his values, cutting back on their fossil fuel by two thirds and electricity use by nine tenths. Following a new calling, Dr. Sleeth resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the ER to teach, preach, and write about faith and the environment throughout the country. 

Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and has two post-doctoral fellowships. He is the author of Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action (Zondervan, April 2007), the introduction to the Green Bible (2008, HarperOne), and 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.
Dr. Sleeth’s latest book is Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us (April 2019, PenguinRandomHouse).


For more information 


MY THOUGHTS..... 

Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us by Matthew Sleeth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Trees are the only things from our childhood that are bigger when we go back and visit them as adults. Our faith should be like that." (p. 191)***

Author Matthew Sleeth admits that he was interested in science long before he was a Believer and it was his fascination with trees that started him on his Christian walk. As he pondered their value he realized that trees play such an important role in the Holy Bible and that "Christianity is the only religion that weaves trees from one end of its sacred text to the other." (p. 5).*** He goes on to share that there is a tree in both the first and last chapter of the Bible, the first psalm and Matthew, the first gospel. Yes, I've read all of these biblical accounts but I hadn't stopped to recognize this significence. As I continued to read Reforesting Faith, I was simply amazed with the many references to trees in the Bible. Page after page, Sleeth shows that trees are a very special part of God's Creation.

Reforesting Faith will appeal to environmentalists but it will also appeal to Christian readers because it reminds us that all of the major events of Christianity feature trees. "Trees are not randomly placed in Scripture. They mark the most important events, including the Creation, the Fall, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This is not a coincidence. The Bible is one interwoven book, written by God." (p. 21)***

This book is easy to read and it has the author's personal experiences but it is also filled with scripture to support the author's observations about the importance of trees. I believe that Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love For Us would be a wonderful book to share with a Bible Study group and it would appeal to both men and women. I myself plan to refer to it again for my own personal devotions and I appreciate the gentle reminder and challenge that is near the end. Matthew Sleeth shares that "The Bible doesn't tell us to be like a house or a chariot or a lion. It tells us to be like a fruithful tree. Grow, make the world better, and bear fruit." (p.191)***

***These quotes are from an uncorrected proof.

I received a complimentary ARC from Waterbrook Multnomah but I wasn't obligated to post a positive review. These are my honest opinions.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Sewing Sisters' Society (A Second Chance Romance Collection Book 1) by Ruth Logan Herne

The Sewing Sisters' Society (A Second Chance Romance Collection Book 1)ABOUT THE BOOK

Hattie McGillicuddy might not look like your typical matchmaker, but Hattie makes things happen in the little town of Second Chance, South Dakota. With the arrival of the railroad and official statehood, Hattie’s determined to bring brides west, and not just any brides. Brides who need the wide open prairie as much as the prairie- and the prairie men- need them! Three pioneer stories of unlikely love are woven around a little town full of homespun characters that take us back to another place and another time but with the same faith, hope and love we cherish today. 

The Pastor Takes A Wife
Macy can’t sew a lick, and she’s come to town with a sacrifice and a secret, but when Hattie’s first apprentice is attracted to the pastor of the only church in town—the man raising her illegitimate son— will the truth set her free? Or make her leave the town and her son behind? 

Second Chance Christmas
Unjustly accused, Nellie comes west to escape the law. She has a way with tucks and gathers, and every Western town could use more tucks and gathers. She’s determined to improve the drab look of the prairie and manages to brighten hearts as well. But will her quick speech and firm ideas of women’s suffrage draw Levi Eichas closer or send the somber carriage maker running? 

Second Chance at Love
Grief has robbed Ann Hazel, but when her aunt pushes her to go west and help an ailing Hattie McGillicuddy turn hems, Ann’s shamed into it. She’s managed to avoid life for awhile, but when Sol Eichas’s nanny comes down sick, Ann reluctantly agrees to help. As she winds her way around Sol’s heart and home, can the two troubled souls leave the past behind to embrace a future together? 

MY THOUGHTS.....

The Sewing Sisters' Society by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The minute I laid eyes on Second Chance, I knew it was the right place for me, and I was right. A growing town, a growing prairie, and good women coming west to chart their own course." These words, spoken by Harriet McGillicuddy, explain her decision to create a new life in Second Chance, South Dakota and they also reveal why she wants other women to have the same chance. Harriet is the cornerstone of each of these novellas that feature three different women who are also in need of a second chance. They each have been hurt by life circumstances and they are uncertain what to do next; it is Harriet's wisdom and her ability to see beyond the surface that eventually helps each of them build a new existence.

Ruth Logan Herne has created some memorable characters and she tells their stories in a down-to-earth manner that is sprinkled with humor. As I read these three novellas in The Sewing Sisters’ Society I was reminded of the wholesome, entertaining television shows during my youth. Some were westerns and some featured the pioneer spirit but all of them emphasized faith, love and family. I now find myself wishing for a television series set in Second Chance, South Dakota. The opening credits would show Harriet McGillicuddy's Shirt Shop, a place where "fine goods are available by order" but love and advice are available all of the time. Harriet would continue to recruit new sewing assistants and she would remind each one that "I came to Second Chance for just that. A second chance. And a new beginning, a new town, and new friends. And here is where I intend to stay." Each episode would allow us to learn their special stories and each week redemption and forgiveness would be offered!

If you are a person who enjoys faith-based stories and historical fiction, you will want to read The Sewing Sisters’ Society by Ruth Logan Herne. I thoroughly enjoyed these stories and I would love to read more about Second Chance, South Dakota.

I received a digital copy of this book from JustRead Publicity Tours but I was under no obligation to post a positive review.





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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849...and the countless marriage proposals?
A series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.
 


MY THOUGHTS.....

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olivia Livingston Brighton certainly knows the meaning of loss. In the course of a few months she has buried both of her parents and the husband that she had known one day before marrying him! As she grieves for her beloved parents and feels guilt over her husband's death, Olivia struggles to make her way alone to San Francisco to find her older brother Daniel. It is July 1849, the California Gold Rush is in full swing and Olivia is shocked when she finally arrives in this city that is now her brother's home.

I love historical fiction because I usually learn something with each book and this is certainly the case with The Golden Bride. I hadn't realized just how bad the living conditions were in San Francisco at this time. Men by the thousands traveled there and San Francisco was ill-prepared to handle this enormous number rushing to find their fortunes. These men were forced to live in tents and there was no law enforcement or organized city government. These conditions played a big part in this storyline and there is also a mystery considering an anonymous "benefactor" who is secretly conducting an underground slave trade ring. As I read the disturbing treatment that these innocent people faced I realized just how relevant this storyline is even today. One hundred seventy years later, in this 21st century, people are still being forced into human trafficking, or slavery!

Author Kimberley Woodhouse has created a fascinating story with three very intriguing characters. Daniel Livingston is the older brother that we all would love to have, Olivia is a sweet and caring young woman who is determined to never marry again and Joesph Sawyer is the swoon-worthy hero who just may change her mind. All three of them are Christian people who want to improve the conditions of the place they now call home. They have received God's love and forgiveness and they want others to experience them also.

Woodhouse has written three of the eight books in The Daughters of the Mayflower series and I appreciated her references to the women who were the subjects of these previoius books. It was nice to recall their stories as Olivia read their diaries and drew strength from the accounts of their trials and triumphs. The Golden Bride is a wonderful book and I recommend it to anyone who loves history, mystery, and Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.


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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters by Blythe Daniel & Helen McIntosh

ABOUT THE BOOK

 “An amazing resource for anyone who desires to deepen their mother-daughter relationship in a biblical, healthy, and healed way.” —Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 You can be restored even when your relationship is frayed Ever wonder why mothers and daughters can be so different and even seem to speak different languages? Mended gives you conversation starters to speak life into your relationship with your mother or daughter. Discover powerful words that usher in healing for wounded hearts and rebuild, restore, and reconcile your connection. Set new patterns going forward as you… find common ground and put your relationship ahead of your differences learn what to say when you don’t know what to say grow closer when you do hard things together If you have a difficult history with your mother or daughter, you don’t have to continue patterns of brokenness. No matter how worn you feel, you don’t have to become unthreaded. God wants to mend your heart to His and to hers.

MY THOUGHTS.....

Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters by Blythe Daniel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is definitely one that should be listed if there is ever a Required Reading List for Mother/Daughter Relationships! It covers so many issues that occur between mothers and daughters during the different stages of their lives. You often hear mothers's say "Oh, she's being a typical teenager" and you see teen daughters who roll their eyes and perhaps make snide remarks about their moms and these moments shouldn't be taken lightly. They can actually be the beginning of serious hurts and even estrangement. Mended offers many examples that occur during our lives and this is why I love this book so much. We are shown how to overcome the hurts and begin the healing process before the damage becomes an irreparable situation.

The authors have filled this book with thoughtful observations, wonderful advice and best of all, a liberal amount of God's Word. I especially like that each of the chapters end with a Mending Thread and a Making It Personal section to help us analyze our own situations. There are eleven chapters and I found myself especially drawn to chapter 3: Saying What When: Words to Love and Live By and chapter 10: Restoring Your Heart. I believe that many people struggle with finding the right words and I also know that my heart often needs to be restored! One of McIntosh's observations spoke expecially to me in chapter 10. On page 169 she states "As we work through layers of our relationship with our mother or daughter and restore hearts, we need to become restored to God with our own heart. There are two kinds of restoration of the heart: toward God and then towards others".

My own mother is with Jesus but I still have my relationships with my daughter, my fellow man and my Heavenly Father. Blythe Daniel and her mother Helen McIntosh have opened their hearts and exposed their own relationship in an effort to help all of us in ours.

I consider Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters to be a wonderful resource and I will certainly recommend it to others. In fact, I have purchased an extra copy to share!




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Friday, April 5, 2019

When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson--Tour, Review, and Giveaway with Celebrate Lit


About the Book



 
Book: When You Are Near  
Author: Tracie Peterson  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release Date: March 5, 2018

After her father’s death, Lizzy Brookstone, a trick rider in the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, wants nothing more than to quit her role as the star of the show and live a quiet life on her family’s ranch. But returning home would bring Wesley DeShazer, the ranch’s foreman and the man who broke her heart, back into her life. In addition, the Brookstones’ new manager fears that Lizzy’s departure could doom the already cash-strapped show. Hope grows in Lizzy during a stopover at Fleming Farm. Ella Fleming not only has a natural talent for trick riding and could easily replace Lizzy, but she’s eager to join the show to flee a forced betrothal. However, while there, one of the show’s wranglers is killed in a manner Lizzy finds suspicious. And during her escape from the farm, Ella stumbles across a secret that could affect all of their lives, as well as the future of the Brookstone Extravaganza.

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS.....

It is 1900 and the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza is a very successful wild west show that is made up entirely of young women performers. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Brookstone is the star performer but she is about ready to hang it up at the end of the current tour and return with her mother to the family ranch. Lizzie is 28, she is still grieving the death of her father and she has decided that she will never allow herself to love someone so completely that she would be destroyed if they should die and leave her alone.  As Lizzie struggles with these doubts and with the feelings that she has long felt for the ranch foreman, she also finds herself offering protection to Ella Fleming, a young woman who has fled from the unscrupulous man that her father has chosen for her to marry.

This famous wild west show is the focus of When You Are Near and it features horses, trick riders and even a female sharp-shooter. There is also a mystery concerning the death of a wrangler on the Fleming farm and the possibility that  Ella's fiancee has committed several murders.

This is a warm, family oriented story and I truly enjoyed the special relationship between Lizzie and her mother and the strong faith element that Rebecca Brookstone possesses. She often mentions that physical death is not truly the end and she also encourages Lizzie to not be afraid to love. In one conversation, she admonishes Lizzie "Don't avoid loving Wes because you fear what might happen should you lose him. Don't harden your heart against loving Wes."

I found myself hoping that Lizzie could overcome her fear of love and loss and find true happiness with the young man that she has always wanted. When You Are Near is the first book in the Brookstone Brides series and I look forward to learning more about these special young women who are part of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza.

.I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebration Lit Tours and I have chosen to leave this review


About the Author




Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.


Guest Post from Tracie


Introducing…When You Are Near! I’m excited about the new Brookstone Brides series and had so much fun researching for the various characters and locations. This is a story about a fictional Wild West show with all female performers. Prior to the rodeos we see today, the Wild West shows traveled throughout America and Europe to entertain people and give city dwellers a taste of what the American frontier was like. At least their version. Buffalo Bill Cody was famous for his shows, which brought Native Americans and their culture into the world of people who might otherwise never have even seen an “Indian.” Pawnee Bill was another entertainer who sought to keep these shows alive.  




For the fictional show in my novels, I wanted to focus on three female characters who became a part of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza for varying reasons. Lizzy Brookstone is the heroine in book one, When You Are Near, and as the daughter of one of the show’s owners, she has enjoyed a starring role as a trick rider. For research I went to Pueblo, Colorado to the ranch of Karen Vold, a famous trick rider and rodeo star. Linda Scholtz, a famed trick rider, was teaching a clinic there along with Karen at the Red Top Ranch Trickriding School. These are two remarkable Christian trick riders who have long worked to keep the sport alive. I spent three days getting to know them and what they do and learned so much. And just to prove that we weren’t all work and no play, I thought I’d share my attempt at trick riding. What I won’t do for research! The series will have three books, as usual, and each book will focus on a different lady and her skills. Mary is a trick shooter like Annie Oakley, and Ella is a Roman rider who stands on the backs of two horses for her part in the act. It was so interesting learning about each of these types of performers, and I hope you’ll get a chance to read all three and enjoy the stories of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, March 26

Vicky Sluiter, March 27
Carpe Diem, March 28
The Avid Reader, March 28
Genesis 5020, March 28
The Lit Addict, March 29
Back Porch Reads, March 29
Splashes of Joy, March 30
Emily Yager, March 31
EmpowerMoms, April 1
Remembrancy, April 3
Pause for Tales, April 4
Stories By GinaApril 5
Book by Book, April 5
BigreadersiteApril 6
The Becca Files, April 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Tracie is giving away a grand prize of When You Are Near, Tracie’s A $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card, and the three books in The Heart of Alaska series and three other winners will receive a copy of When You Are Near!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dcdd/when-you-are-near-celebration-tour-giveaway